BlackBerry poses social, security risks, UAE warns

Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:04am EDT

* UAE says some BlackBerry applications pose security risk

* Regulator says looking to resolve "critical issue"

DUBAI, July 25 (Reuters) - The BlackBerry, made by Canada's Research In Motion RIM.TORIMM.O, is open to misuse that poses security risks to the United Arab Emirates, which said on Sunday it would seek to safeguard its consumers and laws. Gulf state Bahrain in April warned against the use of BlackBerry Messenger software to distribute local news, drawing criticism from media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which called it an act of censorship.

That sparked concerns that other Gulf countries might also consider curbing the use of certain applications on the BlackBerry, which holds around 20 percent of the global smartphone market behind Nokia (NOK1V.HE) but ahead of Apple APPL.O.

BlackBerry was operating "beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation", the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in a statement issued on Sunday.

"As a result of how BlackBerry data is managed and stored, in their current form, certain BlackBerry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions."

The UAE was working to resolve "these critical issues with the objective of finding a solution that safeguards our consumers and operates within the boundaries of UAE law."

Earlier this month, RIM said it was preparing to launch an applications store and consumer Internet services in China as part of its push into the world's top mobile market. [ID:nN09260322]

A long-running censorship dispute between Beijing and Google Inc (GOOG.O) was only recently resolved. Google had said it might be forced to abandon the Chinese market because of hacking attacks and censorship concerns. (Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Jason Neely)

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